Big Girl, Big Hike
Hello, final hours of civilization!
What a beautiful day we are experiencing here in North Georgia! Tomorrow I take the first of many steps on the Appalachian Trail. I’ve looked at the forecast with crossed fingers, time and time again, but it never changes. It looks as though Lindsay and I will be beginning our hike in the rain. While I want to snap my fingers and say, “Drats!”, I know that this is going to be a regular and anticipated event. Typically we shield ourselves from the rain and other elements, but I’m excited to become more intimate with them. I am stoked to get to know nature better. Okay, Okay, I know I’m sounding like a big hippie, but I’m about to live in the woods for 6 months! How don’t you sound like a hippie when you’re about to do all of that?
Anyhow, I decided to put together a post answering a few questions I’ve been asked recently and also put together my gear list!
How are you feeling?
I’m being asked this question a lot. I’m so freakin’ nervous, honestly. The closest comparison that I could think of is white water. Like when you’re sitting above a rapid and you’re about to run it, but you’re so nervous. The difference is that the nervousness ends in 3 seconds for a rapid, those 3 seconds are going to last 6 months for me.
Are you ready?
Yes! Yes, yes, yessssss! I’m so ready. I’ve been ready since last year. I don’t know if I’m even going to sleep tonight, my fingers are actually going crazy as I’m typing this. The other night, laid down in my tent just to see how it I fit again, and it felt like home already. I don’t know if I’m actually ready or prepared, proper. I don’t think anyone is. Unless you’ve hiked this trail before, and you’re hiking it again, I don’t think there is a way to actually be totally ready for this challenge you’re about to take.
How far are you going?
All the way. I’m going to Katahdin. I’m pretty absolute on that.
Do you think you’ll actually make it?
I’ve gotten this question a couple of times and it always makes me question myself, inside. It also aggravates me a little. Yes, I think I’ll actually make it, unless something happens that takes me off the trail, like family or physical injury. Or, I might decide I’ve gone far enough and leave the trail. I have no doubt that I’ll make it to the end, one way or another.
I actually was lucky enough to be sponsored by a few of the brands I’m about to mention! These are all great and lovely companies and I’m looking forward to working with them along the way.
Osprey 50L aura pack
Osprey 30L dry sack
Osprey 2L water reservoir
Osprey pack cover
NEMO Jam sleeping bag
NEMO Hornet 1P tent
KYLMIT Static V sleeping pad
Katadyn water filter
The Deuce of Spades trowel
FroggToggs rain suit
Patagonia nano puff
Patagonia Thermal underwear
First aid kit
Nano Pack towel
LEKI trekking poles
Vasque Mesa Trek
Darn Tough socks
Hygiene kit (various hygiene products)
OtterBox phone case
Otter box Dry box
Thank you all for your constant support. I’m excited and nervous but I’m also very determined. LETS DO THIS!
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So excited for you!!!! ??
I am SO excited for you! I know it’s going to be an awesome, interesting, life-changing experience and I look forward to hearing the details. I’ve got a little Facebook group of prayer warriors that will be praying for you, so KNOW that you’re never alone. And – if you get this before the top of Blood Mountain – wave at God for me and tell him I miss running up there to visit. But I am blessed – my little mountain is just 7 miles down the ridgeline from the top of Blood Mountain – so I’m sort of with you. Be careful, Be joyful. Be blessed! Gayle
Hi Ashley! I will be following your journey. I am Hannah’s mom and she told me about you walking the AT. I want to do that when I retire. I have the same pack and sleep pad as you! I wish you all the best on the trail!
Excited to follow along and hear all about it! Your determination is inspiring!
How is this hike going? I have a friend who hiked all of it Georgia to MD, Maine to MD in 2016.
I have been hiking in San Diego County, Riverside County and San Bernadino County on parts of the PCT this year. I am a big old girl (220 pounds). Wondering what shoes you wear to support your feet while hiking. I have not found any that work yet.
Godspeed on your hike.